REVIEW | THE WALKING WHO – WITH ROSES

Trying to avoid the ever-so-popular pop/rock bands dominating triple j Unearthed at the moment, The Walking Who take their influence from the 60’s, in a soft, guitar-driven, psychedelic rock ballad that just screams Syd Barrett or Lou Reed. ‘With Roses’ really showcases the soft, chilling vocals of Rohin Brown and when paired with Paul McLean’s and Jay Drury’s bass and drum skills, produces a easy-going, surf song not typically expected of The Walking Who based from their previous work.

Despite veering from their typical, more guitar-heavy tracks, ‘With Roses’ really excites us about the future of The Walking Who, who was just announced as the winner of the FBi Radio ‘Northern Lights Competition’, which will see them play the Airwaves Festival in Iceland alongside the likes of The Flaming Lips, Caribou and The Knife.

REVIEW | STAY AT HOME SON STAY AT HOME SON (EP)

Stay at Home Son, the moniker behind Melbourne’s Jesse Martin-Allen, has released his self-titled debut EP.  With distant, sultry vocals the EP washes over you like a half forgotten dream, with the beats lingering long past the listening experience.

The EP has a polish to it that is hard to find on many debut releases. It doesn’t leave much room for development in this regard, but shows off the full capacity of Stay at Home Son to produce a carefully layered experience. ‘Trouble’ teases a boldness in isolation, it is the first point of attachment that the listener really experiences. The lyrics, still presented in Martin-Allen’s hazy lilt, have a more forward direction than at any other point. Its position as second track on the EP is a strange one in many regards. ‘Bluffs and Blocks’ matches its quality in regards to the instrumental production, but is somewhat lacklustre in the vocal department. This makes it nothing more than a teaser for what’s to come once you start listening to the EP on repeat.

‘Alive Again’ again tries for a boldness to its lyrical structure, but it’s the jumps in energy in the production that open it up to capture your attention.  The track plays on your mind in a hypnotic manner, pushing a sound that feels like a more expertly handled copy of the post-Flume’s debut time period. The track just spins around your head, waiting for you to catch onto it. Closing on ‘Tired’, it is clear where Martin-Allen’s strengths lie. With simple beats, and easy lyrics to, ‘Tired’ is the hook to bring you back to the Stay at Home Son.  It’s an impressive release, that while expertly produced, could do with a bit of work in regards to creating a truly immersive release. It’s clear that Stay at Home Son has the potential to win his way into our daily routines and hearts, so it will be interesting to see where the future takes him.

REVIEW | ROMOS HELIOS

The bedroom producers seem to be getting younger and younger. But the great thing about the internet is that you only find that out after you’ve fallen in love with their music. Romos has just cleared his Soundcloud of all but two tracks to get a fresh start for 2015. And his new track ‘Helios’ sounds like the creation of a much more experienced and technical producer.

Rom Bartov aka Romos is just a few months away from turning 15. His music is playful with a touch of glitchy effects but it’s clean and flows without disruption. Not quite dance music, or chill – the tempo of ‘Helios’ sits somewhere in between. It reminds me of the pop vitality of Madeon’s music, along with experimental interludes and an endearing melody.

And he did say to listeners that he wanted to stray away from genre categories, in a message on his soundcloud: “I want to try and let go of those ideas and do something that people won’t really be able to identify, at least at first.” Well, there’s nothing generic about the way this track has been put together.

Romos has less than 200 likes on his facebook page, get on it while you can!

REVIEW | DAMN TERRAN SELF TITLED ALBUM

Australian music seems to be going two ways these days – at the same time as an explosion of electronic producers, we’ve got these old-school garage bands with plenty of attitude and high energy music. Damn Terran is one such post-punk arrangement – especially known for their loud live shows.

The Melbourne group is fresh from performances at the annual Bigsound conference in Brisbane and has also just released their self-titled debut LP. You may have heard their single “Lost” from triple j Unearthed.

Damn Terran kicks off in full force – the track names and cover conjure up dark metal niches but this band has a good sense of rhythm. The twin vocals from Lachlan Ewbank (also guitarist) and Ali Edmonds (also on bass) create jarring male-female harmony. Ali E almost channels Blondie in the fierce vocals (or even the more contemporary Lindsey from Deap Vally).

It’s not all singing though – with shouting, chanting, and heavy drumming – we can only imagine the amount of sweat produced in the recording process. Damn Terran take the time to indulge in instrumental breaks rich in guitar, thumping bass and strong drumming (that’s Leigh Ewbank), which drives most of the tracks.

As the album progresses, it begins to sound more punk. The guitar is harder and subject matter veers towards drugs, drinks and relationships. In fact, some of their lyrics are almost soundtrack-worthy: “You are in a dark place/You are losing what is left of your mind/and I know that you’re leaving alone tonight.”

It’s not going to be for everyone but fans of Dune Rats, Violent Soho and DZ Deathrays will dig the upbeat messy aesthetics and “fuck it” lyrics.

REVIEW | BACK BACK FORWARD PUNCH ZERO TO DISCO

Its no secret that there has been a recent influx of talent emerging from Melbourne lately. From house to funk and of course the newly popular ‘Melbourne Bounce’, it seems that Melbourne is hitting hard, and among this talent are disco duo ‘Back Back Forward Punch’. Formed in 2008, this duo have perfectly matured their sound into what they refer to as “velvety disco”, which is showcased in their latest single Zero to Disco. Starting out with just a fading synth, the track teases the listener with a few seconds of silence just before continuing with a bang. By the time the vocals are introduced it’s hard not to find yourself grooving along to the mesmerizing melody, and by the chorus it becomes almost impossible not to dance. The chorus is a explosion that offers everything we’ve ever loved in disco, and a few added surprises. The use of percussion, and FX do excellently to maintain the flow while still managing to add to the overall feel of the song.

Just as before, the duo treat the listener to a moment of silence during the bridge, which is quickly followed by the introduction of a synth that rings and leaves the listener with the urge to smile and dance. The synth builds into the last chorus, which is succeeded by a funky outro, leaving the listener satisfied, while still craving more of ‘Back Back Forward Punch’. This track perfectly summarizes the duo; everything we love in disco and some unexpected pleasant surprises. With the release of their latest single, it’s obvious that Back Back Forward Punch are destined for big things and are definitely are duo to watch out for.

I WAS THERE | THE KILLERS @ PALACE THEATRE, MELBOURNE

THE KILLERS

Getting to review bands is a pretty sweet gig. When it’s one of your favourite bands, that’s even sweeter! And when that band puts on one hell of a performance… well it doesn’t really get much better than that.

As I walked into the Palace to see Vegas legends The Killers for the fourth time, I already knew I was in for another memorable show. The atmosphere in the air was absolutely electric and by 8:45 the venue was nearly packed to the brim.

The early influx of people were treated to an energetic performance by Steve Smyth, who’s blues infused songs provided the perfect warm up to what was about to follow.

We nudged our way further into the crowd, making friends and foes, desperately trying to get right into the heart of the energy flowing around The Palace.

The crowd went absolutely ballistic as the smiling quartet marched on to the stage and casually burst into their biggest hit ‘Mr. Brightside’. With an opener as brilliant as this, I knew that the band had prepared one hell of a show for Melbourne. After taking a moment to absorb the air, lead man Brandon Flowers tucked into Sam’s Town’s ‘Interlude’ and then ‘The Way It Was’ off 2012’s Battle Born.

The audience cheered and sung so loud that it was difficult to hear what was happening on stage. It was how I imagined an early Beatles gig was and times I noticed myself freezing and just admiring what was taking place in front of me.

The performance was flawless and the set was perfectly balanced with a good mix of songs from all the albums. ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, ‘Human’ and the unexpected ‘Under The Gun’ were all greeted with enthusiasm and by the time they powered through the crowd involved ‘For Reasons Unknown’, I was absolutely speechless. Maybe it was the more intimate venue, maybe it was the fact that Brandon constantly had such a warm, appreciative smile on his face… whatever the reason – something about this show just made me feel so ‘connected’ to the band – it was quite incredible.

Briefly leaving the crowd after three absolutely epic songs in a row (‘Read My Mind’, ‘Runaways’ and ‘All Theses Things That I’ve Done’), the boys returned to end the night with absolute style.
Encore songs included  ‘Be Still’, ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’ and what I personally consider one of the greatest modern day songs ‘ When You Were Young’.

A brilliant performance which heightened my appreciation for live music even more… definitely another amazing Killers experience.

I WAS THERE | RIOT EXPERT RECORDS LAUNCH FEAT. RKDA @ SHEBEEN

To celebrate the launch of Riot Expert Record label, and the release of Melbourne three piece RKDA’s debut EP – CS the band played blinding show at Shebeen alongside Aeora and OCDANTAR.

Aeora set the night off with ease. Despite having barely a handful of tracks out in the world, she’s garnering a reputation quickly, impressing all who hear her. This set showed exactly why. Powerful vocals, engaging lyrics and a stage presence expected of acts of a significantly larger size she put on a captivating show. Hidden as a silhouette thanks to the back lighting of the light set up, she was a captivating image, working her way around her small set up. The addition of a guest violinist was a nice touch, adding a depth to the performance, and a cover of Glass Animal’s ‘Gooey’ created a degree of accessibility for those not yet familiar with her work.  The three tracks that have been released were presented flawlessly. The set closed on her latest single ‘Medicine’ which despite being strong recorded, became something else live, a force that could not be denied. Aeora is quickly working into being one of the best alt pop acts locally, and it would be a surprise if she wasn’t making larger ripples soon.

I WAS THERE | DAMON ALBARN @ PALAIS THEATER, MELBOURNE

Damon Albarn is several different people all rolled into one singular being. He is the front man for brit-pop band Blur, the mastermind behind animated sensation of Gorillaz, one part of the super group The Good The Band & The Queen, and now an accomplished solo artist.

Last time Albarn was on Australian shores was for the first ever Gorillaz live tour and naturally, the English singer/songwriter was in nothing but Gorillaz music mode. Yet for his first show of his first solo tour in Melbourne, Damon Albarn was more than just the melancholic mellow man found on his debut solo album, Everyday Robots.

And it truly seemed the audience in the iconic Palais Theatre in the heart of St. Kilda did not expect what they got. Only those diehard Gorillaz fans would have picked up on the strange opening track, ‘Spitting Out The Demons’, which came as a welcomed surprise and served as an excellent introduction. The crowd was beckoned out of their theatre seats and told to “get as close as they can” to the stage. With melodica in hand, the seven pointed star behind Albarn flashed red (a hint at his obsession with Dr. Dee), and it became undeniably clear that this was not going to be a sit down Palais Theatre gig.

Getting straight down to business, ‘Lonely Press Play’ was to be the first song played from his debut album. Yet there was a funkier and much more rock n’ roll vibe to the tracks. Albarn even drenched the front row with water and traversed over the orchestra pit to get as close to the fans as possible. Those tracks played from Everyday Robots were completely reanimated and reinvented as more rock heavy, a nice contrast to the often melancholic feel of the album.

After hunching over the piano for ‘Everyday Robots’, Albarn took to the melodica and sent the roadies into over time, spilling more water and belting out old-school Gorillaz song, ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’. The Palais Theatre turned grunge rock and the old Gorillaz R n B dub vibe was replaced with a heavy grimey rock. ‘Slow Country’ followed quickly and Albarn perhaps took the crowd by surprise once again when ‘Kids With Guns’ erupted from the speakers.

Moments from Everyday Robots, like ‘Photographs’, brought the intensity levels down. They never truly lasted long, especially in song selections from another Albarn project, The Good, The Bad & The Queen.

Those avid Blur fans were well and truly not forgotten about with several songs from the British pop band’s collection being played including, ‘Out of Time’, ‘All Your Life’ and ‘End of a Century’.

The encore saw the venue erupt when Albarn brought out local Australian rapper, Remi, to belt out the song that began it all for Gorillaz, ‘Clint Eastwood’. Not one person remained in a seat for the entire duration of that song and it was met with a very appreciative applause at the end.

Damon Albarn fans would have appreciated the old hits mixed generously amongst the new, showing that Albarn still has the talent he is truly known for. He still has that musical genius and it is safe to say that he will be sticking around for a very long time.

I LIKE THAT | POP CULT FEELS RIGHT

Not too long ago, we premiered the debut single from QLDs, Pop Cult and its great to hear that the guys are back with more new music. Feels Right is the latest single from the quartet and is again, dripping with 90s, neo-psychedelia, in the style of bands like The Horrors and The Dandy Warhols. The chorus is an absolute belter, delivered with a confidence that would surely make these lads sound amazing live cant wait to find out.

I LIKE THAT | OWEN RABBIT WEEDS

Continuing his run after a breakthrough 2015, Melbourne-based producer, Owen Rabbit, has returned with brand new single, ‘Weeds’  a clustered, experimental number that combines a heap of genres with Rabbits DIY production attitude. Combining themes of pop, jazz, soul, post-hardcore and electronica whilst looping sounds made with toys and rubbish ‘Weeds’ defies all that is conventional transitioning in between the aforementioned with clear-cut precision and remaining cohesive from start-to-finish.

Owen has received praise BBC1 (UK), triple j (AUS) and Apple Music’s Beats 1 with Ellie Goulding as well as touring nationally with SAFIA, Boo Seeka and JOY., so its safe to say were set to hear plenty more from the quirky songwriter. As well as an Australian tour, the quirky songwriter is primed to also tour through Europe in May, featuring as part of Brightons Great Escape Festival.

‘Weeds’ is lifted from the debut self-titled EP due for release in July and will feature  ‘Denny’s’, ‘Holy Holy’ and four other brand new tracks. Check it out below!